Monday, May 16, 2011

Backpacking Travel Tips ... ready for the road!


Prepare yourself for some fun blog-reading over the next few weeks. There's been all kinds of boring and stressful stuff going on, which I won't bore you with here. Instead, get ready for some crazy Scottish adventures. I'm talking Highland cows, vegetarian haggis, late-night lock-ins at the pub, and ancient ruins. In between all that, some fun gigs.

Today I'm trying to focus on packing. Packing lightly is the key here, for many reasons. Primarily, it's because the airlines now charge like crazy for a checked bag, and we've already got guitars, accordions, mandolins, and merchandise to bring. Then there's the wee little cars that they drive in Europe. Lugging around two big suitcases plus instruments and merch just isn't an option.

So I bring you Travel Tip Collection #1: How to pack for a month in a backpack and still remain friends with your travelmate.

1. Tide Travel Sink Packs: You have to do laundry at least every other day. You'll be washing small amounts and likely doing it in the sink, so these little packets are perfect. You can also bring an empty travel shampoo bottle and fill it with liquid detergent, but I like the small packs. They are lightweight, and every ounce matters.

2. Forget Fashion and think Layers. The weather in the UK is unpredictable, but generally mild. Start with a t-shirt and build out from there.

3. Choose black or brown and stick with one. Everything I'm bringing is a shade of black or grey. This means at least everything matches, and I don't have to worry about what's clean or dirty. I prefer brown, but my rainboots are black. So there you go.

4. Kindles and iPods are awesome. Remember when you had to bring 10 mix tapes or albums on a road trip? And 3-4 books? This kind of touring is when I remember how awesome it is to be alive in 2011. Technology rulz.

5. GPS is your friend. Get one. Name her. Be kind to her. It will save you and your tourmate's friendship.

6. Eyeshades and earplugs. Eyeshades aren't just for rich old ladies anymore. They are useful for napping at anytime, as well as for migraines. Also, when touring the north around summer solstice, you get about 20 hours of daylight a day. It's fabulous, but not always fun to wake up at 4am thinking it's afternoon. As for the earplugs, well, your tourmate probably snores. Again -- save your friendship.

7. Pack what you think you'll wear, and then bring half of that. Here's what I'm bringing: 2 t-shirts (1 for everyday and 1 for exercise), 1 long-sleeve t-shirt, 1 hoodie, 1 cardigan, 1 thin sweater, 1 pair of pants that can roll-up to be capris, 1 pair leggings, 1 un-wrinklable dress (for shows), rubber cowboy boots that double as galoshes, flip-flops, packable rainjacket, sneakers (again, stupid exercise), yoga pants, 1 thin hand towel, sunglasses, baseball cap, 3 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks, and 2 bras.

Which brings me back to #1: Do laundry daily.

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